Tampa – – The Tampa Bay Lightning have shown some weaknesses in this series. And much like the New York Rangers, the Colorado Avalanche took advantage of those. After an interesting first period where the Avalanche trailed 2-1, nobody saw Darcy Kuemper melting down this game. It was predicted many times over but so far, he looked confident. Now the Avalanche have to worry about their goaltending once again and Andrei Vasilevskiy is once again locked back in and the Lightning got an easy 6-2 win. So now what?
“It sucks losing but I thought we played ok,” said Nathan MacKinnon. “We have a short memory. We are going to lose games. We’ve won every game on the road so we were probably due for a rough night.”
Corey Perry had an exchange with Kuemper in the second period. Perry got crushed into the boards behind the net by Josh Manson and then when Perry got up and he pushed the Avs goalie. Just slightly. It was a reply to something. Kuemper must have said something and then he quickly gave up the goal to Patrick Maroon who cut threw the crease and a weak poke check from Kuemper got turned around and up high into the net. Kuemper was pulled. Pavel Francouz gave up a bleeder of a power-play goal and the Avs were essentially done for the night. They still have a 2-1 series lead but can the Avs goalie get his stuff together?
“He (Kuemper) will just shake it off. He’s been great all year. Not going to get down on him,” MacKinnon replied. “Tough bounces for him too, off the shaft once. I thought he looked good but it was unfortunate.”
“We have to learn from our mistakes. We gave up three goals from the slot including Stamkos most of the time when he’s in the zone there. We gave up too many grade A’s,” said Mikko Rantanen.
Notes: Nick Paul and Nikita Kucherov both are hurt. Brayden Point didn’t play. Paul scored a goal and finished out the game. Kucherov got his leg buckled underneath a dirty hit from Devon Toews who essentially ran the Russian into the boards. Logan O’Connor practically rag-dolled Ross Colton in a fight late in the third period. The crowd applauded Colton’s effort.
Mikko Rantanen postgame: